U.S. Best Qualified to Aid Iraq

The United States has a remarkable history of helping countries grow into democracy. Germany, South Korea, and Japan are only the three most prominent examples of the American efforts to encourage democracy.

Americans have long supported Latin American countries to move to democracy, the rule of law and free markets.

Americans actively helped the Eastern European countries move from communist dictatorship to the rule of law, private property and freedom.

While the American track record of avoiding imperialism and encouraging freedom is clear, the same cannot be said for the countries and institutions seeking to push the United States aside and take over Iraq for their own interests.

The Iranians are trying to organize their faction among the Shiite clerics to insist that the United States leave immediately so they can impose an Iranian-style religious dictatorship. Ironically, Shiites, who were celebrating their religious freedom for the first time in a generation, were being told they should drive out the very country that had given them the opportunity to go to the holy city of Karbala.

Hosni Mubarak, the dictator of Egypt, wants the United Nations to replace the U.S. in Iraq because he fears freedom in Iraq may lead to a desire for freedom in Egypt.

Similarly, the Saudis and Syrians would like the U.S. to leave the country before democracy is safe in Iraq.

The United Nations is eager to bring the same bureaucratic red tape to Iraq that it has brought to refugee camps since 1948. The United Nations specializes in expensive bureaucracy, taking a long time and accommodating the demands of dictatorships.

Furthermore, the United Nations should first be required to explain to the Iraqi people the billions it spent through the Oil for Food program.

An American effort to help the Iraqi people grow a free government is the only effort likely to succeed.

Involving foreign countries, especially dictatorships and those with a weak tradition of democracy, will only make it more difficult for the Iraqi people to achieve the safety, health, prosperity and freedom that should be their birth right as a free and independent people.

Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

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